Medallion quilt

Loretta Pettway American

Not on view

The bold design and harmoniously clashing color palette of this Medallion quilt exemplify some of the qualities that made works from Gee’s Bend a sensation when they were first introduced to art museum visitors in 2002. While often equated with abstract paintings by white men, these quilts are solely the products of the needs and aesthetics of the African American women who made them. In this case, Loretta Pettway composed a thrilling design through clever improvisation with a simple block form. She created six blocks with multicolored strips of fabric, and then stitched three together with the strips arranged horizontally and three with the strips turned vertically. The juxtaposition of the blocks creates a jarring rhythm that pleases the eye, and the black and white borders add to the sophistication of the design.

Medallion quilt, Loretta Pettway (American, born Boykin, Alabama 1942), Top: cotton and rayon-acetate blend; back: cotton

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